Today’s phones have more computing power than the PCs or previous generations. Many smart phones run versions of the most common operating systems found in your typical computer. With this being said, smart phones share a lot of the same attack vectors as a normal computer. Here are three steps that you can take in order to protect your mobile device from being compromised by malicious actors (aka the bad guys):
- Install a mobile security solution such as McAfee Security, or Avast Anti Virus. Smart phone users forget that their smart phones are essentially mobile computers that fit in the palm of your hands. These devices run on operating systems that are similar to the ones that run on your laptop or desktop. This means that your smart phone is also vulnerable to some of the same strains of malware that can wreak havoc on your PC. In order to protect yourself from malware (especially in today age where there’s an app for everything), one should install a good mobile security solution. These products scan downloaded files and applications to make sure that they do not contain any malicious code.
- Avoid downloading apps from an unknown source. Without going into too much detail, there are multiple ways in which you can download applications from unknown (3rd party) sources on both Android and iOS devices. This is typically done to acquire “free versions” of apps, download applications which aren’t available on your devices app store due to the app not being designed for the current operating system on your phone, or to root your device; allowing you to escape the restrictions imposed upon you by your device manufacturer. While there are legitimate reasons one would download an app from a unknown source, this introduces a significant amount of security risk for the average user. There have been many cases where individuals have downloaded apps from 3rd party sources thinking that they were legitimate apps only to find out that the downloaded app actually contained code which allowed an individual to steal information from your phone such as passwords and text message data. Unless you know exactly what you’re doing, I’d advise that you avoid downloading applications from unknown sources.
- Update the software running on your phone. Application developers and phone vendors constantly push out updates to address a plethora of vulnerabilities associated with their product. While it may seem like an inconvenience to update your apps or mobile operating system, failing to do so increases the likelihood that your mobile device will be compromised.
Attackers will typically go after the easiest target to compromise. By following the above three steps, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of becoming a target.